ThermaSolutions web app design

kc web design kent are proud to announce the launch of a large web app design project for ThermaSolutions. Back in early 2012 kc web design kent were contacted by ThermaSolutions and asked to produce an iOS app for the building and construction industry. After many months of hard work on the iOS app the project was shelved due to various reasons but kc web design kent worked hard with ThermaSolutions to bring something to market that far exceeded the original project scope. ThermaSolutions continued to evolve over the coming months and has now been launched as a web app subscription service.

kc web design kent designed, built and crafted the web app and the new website is now live. The ThermaSolutions web app was built using Expression Engine with the Membrr subscription module to handle the payments and subscriptions. The web app design is fully responsive to enable it to work on all mobile devices as well as desktop browsers and utilises advanced HTML5 and Javascript technology to allow the web apps to work in offline situations for construction staff out in the field with little or no connectivity. All parts of the web app work independently as stand alone apps that can be saved to the iOS device home screen and work like normal iOS apps. This enables the user to have access to a remote web app thats stores their reports but still be able to use the reporting tools and calculators when offline.

An advanced subscription system and seamless payments were integrated into the web app to provide easy access and signup flows for the user. Over the next few weeks kc web design kent will also be producing a hybrid iOS app that will allow users to download selected parts of the web app directly from the Apple app store.

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Potable Water Solutions – Hydro voyager 3

We had a very interesting call at kc web design kent last week from Potable Water Solutions. Potable Water Solutions make the Hydro Voyager 3 – a new solution for purifying contaminated water.

At kc web design kent we love helping out with good causes and Potable Water Solutions needed a quick landing page created for their new water purification system. We had very little time to get something designed for them and needed to take complete control of the whole process so that Potable Water Solutions didn’t have to worry about a thing. We quickly designed a responsive website design landing page that would show some basic information on the Hydro Voyager for potentially interested parties and allow them to make contact. A fuller, more detailed website will be coming in the future but for now anyone interested can at least see how wonderful this project is a what a difference it could make to people in situations were water is scarce or not of great quality.

For more information on this wonderful project take a look at the Hydro Voyager 3 website created by kc web design kent.

Callagenix website design

kc web design kent were approached by Callagenix back in October 2012 to redesign their current website. Callagenix are a supplier of telecommunication services to businesses and they need to redesign their slightly dated and content heavy website and bring it up to date with a responsive website design. The challenge was to allow the user easy access to the wealth of information on the website but at the same time making it easy for the user to quickly get to information about products and services and allow them to enquire of buy online.

The new website design created by kc web design kent was built on the fantastic Expression Engine and Zurb Foundation with advanced functionality added with bespoke PHP. Plugins were used to enhance the website features and make sure previous blogspot posts could be easily imported. Advanced article tagging for the news section, offsite backups, import and export routines, social media integration and dynamic categories and call to actions were all integrated using Expression Engine. A lot of hard work has been put in to making sure old content was rewritten and external blog posts were integrated into the new website. SEO was a major concern after failings with the previous website and SEO company so content structure was redesigned and advanced SEO integrated into Expression Engine to allow Callagenix staff to produce new pages and articles that would maintain good SEO presence and help improve page rank in organic searches.

The responsive website produced by kc web design kent allows the website to be viewable on all mobile and tablet devices which is very important for a website in a technology based market place. With mobile devices rapidly becoming a large percentage of browsing users its imperative that all modern website designs are tailored to these devices.

After 5 months hard work at kc web design kent the new Callagenix website design went live this week.

 

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Yohondo iPad app UI design

kc web design kent were contacted by the lovely John and Jane from Yohondo a few months ago about designing the user interface for their new iPad app. Yohondo have spent the last 12 – 18 months designing and building a skeleton app that will completely change the way people learn graded music lessons. A huge amount of research and testing had gone into the app and kc web design kent were offered the task of creating and designing a beautiful user interface for the iPad app that would help bring all that research together into a good looking, usable app.

kc web design kent designed a completely new user interface that uniquely combine the research by Yohondo with an intuitive and user-friendly design. Ease of use was paramount in the design process as well as creating a user interface that compliments the user flow and actions throughout the app. The Yohondo ipad app is aimed at a younger audience, as well as adults, and so small elements of gameification were built into the design to create an experience that kept users coming back and help with progression through the lessons.

The iPad user interface design that kc web design kent have created is unique in this market place and was designed to fully compliment the hard work undertaken by Yohondo in building a world class iPad app. The app will be completed over the coming months and launched in the summer so watch out for it in the app store. Next on the list will be a brand new website for Yohondo design and built by kc web design kent.

Why staying on top of SEO writing is important

We all know we have to do, but finding time to write content for SEO can feel like a chore especially when you’re working all hours on client web design work. Keeping on top of SEO writing and keeping your website full of fresh new relevant content is hard work and something that has to be maintained. We’ve been so busy here at kc web design kent for the last few months that I’ve let the content writing slip a little. I was writing 2/3 articles per week which really helped with the ‘web design kent‘ keywords and meant that kc web design kent were on page 3 for ‘web design kent‘, page 1 for ‘freelance web designer kent‘ and a few others. Unfortunately, after a month or so of not writing many articles and letting things slip a little we have now dropped down to page 6 for ‘web design kent’! Thats a few pages down is as many weeks!

For any online business, staying up in the organic search results is extremely important and this little (unscheduled) experiment shows that you HAVE to keep up with the content writing for your listing to stay consistant. At kc web design kent we know have a hard slog in front of us to get back up to page 3 for ‘web design kent’ and our other search terms. Sometimes, when you’re working hard it difficult to think of things to write about. Checking news websites and setting up Google alerts on related topics can help find inspiration, then it’s just a case of finding the time. Setting aside 15 minutes and writing a new article first thing in the morning is the best way. It gets it done before any other distractions take over. If you find inspiration hits then don’t forget to write as many articles as you can, you can always save them or schedule them for publishing later when you’re a bit stuck for time.

So, the lesson learnt is to stick with it, keep on writing regular articles and stay up in the search listings.

WordPress hacking

Its been reported quite widely  in the media this week that WordPress has been under attack. WordPress powers millions of websites so an attack like this is no small thing. Millions and millions of sites will have been hacked and the brute force attached looks like it was aimed at weak admin usernames and passwords. Probably an attempt to gain access to more servers for a bigger attack, the hackers targeted WordPress websites with weak passwords that were still using the default admin login. Even WordPress websites with different usernames but weak password could still have been compromised. kc web design specialise in WordPress website design in kent and all over the UK and we’ve seen a lot of damage done by this attack.

Whenever we build a WordPress website design here at kc web design kent we take security very seriously. The first thing we do is to setup WordPress on the server then lock it down, harden it and add extra security features. We try and protect it from all of the most well known attacks as well as making sure password policies are tight. There are a few useful plugins we use on every WordPress website design we do as well as using some other tricks to secure config files and other important areas of the WordPress system. There are loads of tutorials around that explain the best practices when securing WordPress so I won’t bore you with a huge article on that. The plugins that we always use and are well worth taking a look at are: Block Bad Queries, Wordfence, Secure WordPress by WebsiteDefender and WordPress Backup 2 Dropbox because if anything does happen to your website you want to get it back up quickly right?

Security on any system is a serious issues so don’t let anyone build you a WordPress website without making sure its secure. kc web design specialise in WordPress website design in kent and all over the UK so talk to use before you decide on creating a WordPress website. We can make sure its safe.

Flickering iMac screen brightness

Last week my iMac screen brightness started flickering. At first I thought it was my eyes playing tricks in the sun coming through the studio windows but after a few days I noticed a defined change in brightness in the lower left part of the screen. At kc web design kent we love iMac’s because of the huge amount of screen space. Combined with a second 24″ monitor and you have an almost perfect working environment for web design and iOS design work and coding. iMacs have been a part of our equipment here at kc web design for the last 5 years and this particular iMac was bought in 2009 so only a few years old.

I’ve used Apple computers for designing every since college over 20 years ago and have never really had any issues. The Macs we use at kc web design kent are used every day, every week all year and never really miss a beat. So, I now have an annoying flicker in the left part of the iMac screen and its getting pretty annoying. After a few quick Googles I came across quite a few mentions of this particular issue with 2009 iMacs so it looks like a bit of a general fault. Lots of people saying its a problem with the left LED in the screen (There are 2 in these iMacs apparently) and thats its on its way out and needs replacing. Others saying its just a loose connection and that you can push the screen on the bottom left about 1-2 inches in from the left on the bottom black edge and it should stop the flickering for a while or until the connection becomes loose again. Terns out this second fix worked for me.

So, I have a loose connection on a 4 year old iMac…those new iMacs do look very nice…

Yohondo iPad app UI design

kc web design kent are delighted to be working with the wonderful Yohondo on their brand new iPad app. We’ll be designing the user interface over the next few weeks to create a beautiful UI experience and craft an award winning app.

Yohondo is a new iPad app designed for teaching grade 1,2 and 3 piano in a new and intuitive way. kc web design kent will be working with the Yohondo team to take their working wireframe app and turn it into a visual exciting, beautifully design experience for all levels of users. The app is designed to help children and adults learn graded musical pieces in a new and exiting way and the user interface and overall design will reflect this.

The new Yohondo iPad app will be available later this year along with a brand new website design. A second round of beta testing will be starting soon once the new user interface design is in place so if you’re interested in becoming a beta tester head over to the Yohondo website.

At kc web design kent we specialise in iPad and iPhone user interface design and understand the complexities of designing for touch devices. We also create web apps and responsive website designs that can be used on all types of devices such as phones and tablets. If you have a project that needs a user interface or want a website that taps into the growing mobile marketplace then get in touch with kc web design kent for a chat.

Mailbox iOS app – Was it worth the wait?

Most people in the web design industry are aware of Mailbox – the new email client for iOS that claims to change the way we deal with email – and at kc web design kent we were very excited when it was launched. And most will also be aware of the sign-up system they used. After sign-up the user joined a queue and the app gave a count down to when it would be available. When I signed up I was about 700,000 in the queue and it took a few weeks for the app to become available. Not everyone was very keen on this sign-up process but as a way of rolling out a new app slowly I can see its benefits.

After a long wait I finally got to the use the app and I have to say that it is very nice. Its well exicuted, it looks great and works very well. Does it change the way we deal with email? Maybe. But I can’t help but feel like its just a bunch of folders and actions tagged on to a Gmail account. For people that use their iPhone for dealing with all their email on the go then Mailbox is a great email client. But for the rest of us, such as web designers like us at kc web design kent, then it doesn’t get used that much. A desktop version would be much better and hopefully now that Mailbox has been acquired by Dropbox we might see more development on the desktop version. But again, would the desktop version just feel like a nice interface over a few folders and actions tagged on the Gmail?

There are lots of different ways of dealing with emails and inbox-zero and a lot of them do this with specific folders and actions. At kc web design kent we use a simple method of having a smart folder for incoming unread mail, one for emails flagged as to-do and a few other folders. So could this method be used to attain the same email flow as Mailbox? I think it could be done and even made into some kind of plugin for email clients like Postbox. A few simple folders and actions could mimic what Mailbox does quite easily. If I get time over the next few weeks and client work at kc web design kent doesn’t get in the way too much I might give it a try. If it works I’ll post the results here!

Private browsing in Safari Mobile and javascript local storage

After a good few hours trying to debug a web app in Mobile Safari here at kc web design kent we finally worked out that having private browsing turned on in the Safari settings was causing javascript and local storage to not work. Safari mobile seems to deal with private browsing differently to other browsers and it actually stops any kind of local storage from being set where as Chrome still allows a certain amount of storage to be accessed.

To warn users that they have private browsing on we can do a little check with javascript…

var testKey = 'qeTest', storage = window.sessionStorage;
 
 try {
 // Try and catch quota exceeded errors
 storage.setItem(testKey, '1');
 storage.removeItem(testKey);
 } catch (error) {
 if (error.code === DOMException.QUOTA_EXCEEDED_ERR && storage.length === 0)
 alert('Please make sure you have private browsing turned off in your Safari settings to use this website');
 else throw error;
 }

 

This will check whether local storage can be set and if not warn the user that they have private browsing turned on. Hopefully this will help anyone else that comes up against this problem.

The first website design I ever built

To be honest, I can’t really remember my first website that well. It was over 15 years ago so specific facts feel a little fuzzy. Before I was a ’proper’ web designer (which is what I call myself now) I was a graphic designer for print and before I did that I was a photographer for a very short time and that’s what I was doing when I built my first website.

At the time I was at art college in Bournemouth and heavily involved in music. A good friend worked at the local independent record shop (back when record shops still sold records) and asked if I’d be interested in looking into a website design. As I mentioned before, exact memories are a little faded (I was at college!), but from what I can remember I knew a bit about the web but absolutely nothing about how to make a website. Still, like all good students I needed the money so agreed to look into building a website for the record shop.

Im not sure whether it was the lure of money or the access to free music and beer that drove me on, but armed with a copy of the latest web magazine and whatever other information I could get my hands on I set about learning how websites were made. My first real experience in front of a computer coding was very different to reading about it on paper. At the back of the shop was a set of stairs going down into a basement that was no bigger than a very small single bedroom. The room was full from floor to ceiling with records with a small space left for a PC. Windows 94 at its best! In this dark basement with the sound of dJ’s checking out the latest vibes (that’s it, that’s what e record shop was called – Vibe Records!) floating down from above I set about trying to construct a website.

All I really remember is battling with tables, endless nested tables just to get a logo in the right part of the screen. There was no CSS, or not that I knew off and html 1 was all I had to use. I remember swearing a lot trying to hand code complicated table layouts with rows and columns and spacer gifs. It took weeks of sweat and tears and checking in Netscape navigator (go and check it out kids, it’s the granddaddy of all modern browsers) to create a very basic website but I was very proud and the shop was very pleased. 12 months later the shop had gone and so had my their website.

What would I do differently? Well, pretty much everything actually. The web is a totally different place these days and the web design industry has gone through many changes in the last 15 years. I saw the death and rebirth of the web design industry and how it’s come alive in the last few years with a fantastic community. It’s like no other industry I know. I’d do everything different today if I built that website again but then I’d probably do it different if I built it again in 12 months time. The web design industry moves that fast. That’s why working in this industry is so exciting and why you should always be learning and why you should treat every website like its your first.

This article is an entry about website design for the 123-reg My 1st Website competition . You can see more info here…http://www.123-reg.co.uk/first-website-competition.shtml

Evernote security hacked

Working in an online business like kc web design kent means that almost every working day I’m logging in and out of services or apps. Every day my whole online life is governed by passwords for email accounts, online web design services, social media, to-do lists and more. It feels like every month or so now some online service gets hacked and we all have to change our passwords again. In the last few months we’ve had Dropbox, Twitter and now Evernote is the latest victim.

On Evernotes website they apologise “for the annoyance” and say that data is safe although passwords were breached. I suppose thats all it has become now, an annoyance. Not the ‘end of the world’ catastrophe we all used to think it was when something got hacked but just an inconvenience and one that we can fix just by changing a password.

The problem with all this is when your daily online life is so full of passwords that you start using the same ones for everything. I know I’ve done this in the past. But with the ease that hackers are gaining entry to major online services its time to be a little more security conscious and make sure you don’t use the same passwords for multiple services. At kc web design kent we use password systems such as 1Password to help remember all our online log ins and to stop the need for having to remember hundreds of passwords. Other systems are available but as we use Macs and iPhones here at kc web design kent then a native app that works on all our devices is our best option.

So don’t take the chance, make sure your passwords are secure and not the same on multiple accounts and use a tool to remember them. This way it stays and annoyance and not a catastrophe when you loose data or find your personal details have been used for something else.

kc web design kent – Friday round-up one

I thought we’d start doing a little Friday round-up here at kc web design kent of interesting things that we’ve come across during the week. So for our first ‘Friday round-up’ we’re going to have a look at all sorts of interesting web design and development related goodies and just plain cool stuff that we’ve come across over the last week.

Zurb Foundation 4

The latest version of the best (in our opinion, although Bootstrap is coming a very, very close second now) responsive html5/css3 framework is out. kc web design kent were invited to the launch party in Mountain View but we decided it was a little too far to travel from Kent!

The new version changes a few things – firstly, it now uses a mobile first approach to its responsiveness, it has better javascript which uses the Zepto framework and the semantic layouts have changed slightly creating cleaner markup but a few changes to the way its used. All in all it looks like a great update to a framework that stays at the forefront of web design tech and website design uses. As they say on the website, Foundation is now future proof.

Handheld Conference

Getting to a good conference is still on my list of things to do (I just never seem to have the time these days!) and if I was going to go to any conference this year it would be Handheld. The line-up is fantastic, it’s in Cardiff which is pretty cool (but a long way from Kent!) and they have a house band to play between speakers! There is also a day of workshops and a big party. Early bird tickets have almost sold out but its still a pretty good price for the line-up. I wish I could go!

Ouya

Lots of great things are coming out of the Kickstarter culture we have at the moment and the funding of some amazing projects is actually happing and products are coming to market. Ouya is an open-source games console running on Android thats going to ship for $99! Just hook it up to your TV, search for the games you want to play online and then buy them. Once some good games are on board this kind of thing could really take off and stop the gaming industry being led by 3 major companies.

MYO – GESTURE CONTROL

Another amazing Kickstarter project is MYO. MYO turns you into a Jedi! It’s basically very cool gesture control that you can hook up to pretty much anything. It’ll work with Mac and Windows and allows you to control things with gestures. Watch the video on the website, its very cool! I think I’d much rather have one of these than Google Glass.

Subscription based websites with Expression Engine

Expression Engine is our CMS of choice at kc web design kent and we use it on a lot of larger projects. It has great flexibility, if built on a robust framework and the community of users and add-ons is very good. It is one of the best web design CMS frameworks around and a joy to use.

At kc web design kent we recently built a web app based on Expression Engine and needed to create a subscription based service that would allow users to purchase subscription plans and then give them access to certain areas of the web app based on what plan they’d bought. We also need a good user interface for managing subscription packages that would be easy for the client to use and easy for us to setup and manage. After looking around we came across an add-on for Expression Engine called Membrr. Membrr did all the things we need and had a good payment system built in. The company that make Membrr also make a service called Open Gateway (which comes bundled with Membrr) that allows full integration of recurring subscription payment and automated payments through a whole host of payment gateways.

Membrr was very easy to setup and get started with and the examples on the site are very good. It takes a little while to get into using the hooks correctly to display things in your own templates but as always the community support is great and if you know Expression Engine syntax and template tags then it won’t take long to pick things up. The Expression Engine admin interface is very good and makes managing subscriptions and members very easy. There is a separate login for Open Gateway and you need to set up a few cron jobs on your server (so best to be using this on a good server and not a low-end shared host) to deal with the recurring payments but once done things should run smoothly.

All in all Membrr seems to be a very good system and is working well for us at kc web design kent on this particular project. If you have a web app or website design project that needs a good CMS then talk to kc web design kent about Expression Engine.

WordPress – First plugins to install

At kc web design kent we create a lot of websites based on WordPress: blogs, e-commerce websites, corporate websites and even web apps. As soon as we get WordPress installed on a web design project we always add our own set of plugins for security and other odds and ends. So here’s our quick list of WordPress plugins to get into a WordPress website quickly…

Wordfence

In my opinion, one of the best WordPress security plugins there is. Even on the basic level it will scan your site for all sorts of attacks and hacks and lockdown your login to brut force break-in attempts and you can even set firewall rules to change actions on certain events. There’s an option to go pro if you want to for added features but the basic features seem to be enough for most situations.

Block bad queries

A simple little plugin that checks for SQL injection and cross-site scripting and other types of attacks on URL’s. Does exactly what it says!

wp Time Machine (for Backups)

There are many, many different plugins for backups but we find this one very simple to use and the backup to Dropbox works great for us here at kc web design kent. You can also use Amazon S3.

WP Custom Admin Bar

When we’re designing WordPress themes at kc web design kent we don’t want the pesky admin bar getting in the way while we trying to check our design so this simple plugin turns it on/off for certain users or roles. Even when a WordPress website goes live we keep this plugin on as the admin bar can be a little confusing for some users.

WordPress SEO

If you’re serious about SEO on your WordPress website then this is THE SEO plugin to go for. Joost de Valk has a great reputation in the SEO world and this plugin does everything you’d expect. It even guides you on good SEO practice and helps create good written articles that are keyword rich. We could write for kc web design kent without this plugin!

Akismet

Being a pre-installed plugin this one sometimes gets over-looked but if you want to have comments on your WordPress site then this is your first defence against comment spam. And believe me, you’ll need it! It’s easy to sign up and get a key so there’s no excuse to getting it setup and protecting your comments.

kc web design kent – latest web design tools

Over the last few months here at kc web design kent we’ve been collecting some useful tools and snippets of code and all sorts of interesting links so I thought we’d share some of those for other web designers out there. First on the list is a great little tool for online typography…

www.gridlover.net

Gridlover is a great tool for creating a html text with a perfect modular scale and vertical rhythm. If setting out your text styles while creating a new website design feels tricky then this well designed online tool will help you create those text style just by dragging a few sliders. Very easy to use and the results are pretty good.

subtlepatterns.com

Everyone likes a good texture and pattern to use on a website design and Subtle Patterns is the perfect place to find them. There are all kinds of patterns and subtle textures here to use on your website designs and they easy to find and use. You can even download the whole pack to keep on your own resource folders.

Emmet

One thing I’ve been using more and more when coding website designs these days is Emmet. It used to be called Zen Coding but after a name change and a big update its now better than ever. Learning a new bunch of syntax’s to use while coding websites in your favourite editor (we use Coda 2 here at kc web design kent) takes a little while to learn but once you get used to it it does make certain takes while coding much quicker. Here’s one I use for expanding a list into options for a select list including the value…

option[value=$#]*>{$#}

It might not seem like much but when you have a select list with lots of options this saves a lot of time! With any complicated expressions like this that I can’t remember instantly I tend to save them as Coda clips so they’re easy to just copy and use.

 

Map A Hash Key In OSX

Here’s a great little tip for mapping a hash (#) character to a better keyboard shortcut. At kc web design kent we do a lot of coding and the hash key is one that gets used a lot and on a Max OSX English keyboard it isn’t in the easiest of places and needs a slightly twisted finger combination to hit it on the 3 number key. With a simple change we can map the hash symbol to another key such as the § key which doesn’t get used at all on my keyboard.

Just create a new file here…

~/Library/KeyBindings/DefaultKeyBinding.dict

And then enter this in the file, save a restart…

{
/* Map # to § key*/
"§" = ("insertText:", "#");
}

Once you restart the § key will now enter a hash symbol which is much easier when coding!

What to do when there’s nothing to do

A lot of the articles I write for kc web design kent are to help with Google rankings and SEO in general. Other articles are for information for prospective clients and snippets of wisdom or code for other web designers. Most of the time it’s relatively easy to get a few articles on the website each week but recently I’ve been working on a huge web app project that’s taking up every hour of every day and finding something interesting to write about has become a little difficult over the last few weeks. So what to do when you have writers block or not enough time to spend researching interesting subjects?

I could talk about our SEO here at kc web design kent and drone on about the keywords we’re trying to hit such as ‘website design kent‘ or ‘freelance web designer kent‘ but that just seems a bit cheeky and a bit lame. I could take about something inane or silly but what I should be doing is finding a really interesting topic to write about. Maybe what I need are a few guest writers to help out at kc web design kent for those times when inspiration is low but it’s not really that kind of site. Actually, what it really comes down to is time. When we’re extremely busy here at kc web design kent on intense, schedule dependent projects we tend to focus, put the blinkers on and get things done and that can have an impact on all those daily jobs that normally fit nicely into your schedule. Once this large web design/web app project is finished and things get back to normal at kc web design kent then I’ll have the time to find interesting subjects to talk about but until then I might just have to resign myself to the fact that I might just have to waffle for a bit. Hopefully the next article will be a little more interesting and a lot less waffle!

kc web design kent review – Mountee

I’m sure we’ve written about Mountee before at kc web design kent but even if we have, it’s time to sing it’s praises again. While building website design projects you normally have access to files and folders and can upload to servers but when using a CMS such as Expression Engine the template files are embedded into the admin system. There was a time when editing those templates could only be done via the admin interface, then you could save them as a file and edit them directly and then came Mountee.

Mountee is a little app and a plugin for Expression Engine and we’ve been using it for a while here at kc web design kent. It’s on a current large web app project that we’re building with Expression Engine that Mountee has shown what an indispensable app it is. Mountee allows you to mount your Expression Engine template folders as a drive on your Mac and access those folders and files like you would any other files. When you open and edit them and then save those changes are automatically saved back to Expression Engine (where it saves the files into the database). While working on our current web app design project at kc web design kent we’ve used Mountee every day to build the web app and without Mountee the process of building the website and updating the templates would be tricky. Mountee makes it very easy to get access to your template files and this means that development time on Expression Engine website builds is a lot less.

One issue we have found with Mountee though is sometimes after sleep you try and save a file but it doesn’t update. If this happens you have to eject the drive and then re-connect before the files will save again. Its caught us out a few times and is something that I’m hoping will get fixed although I suspect its something to do with the Fuse system and how it deals with remote connections.

kc web design kent specialise in Expression Engine and WordPress website design.

Is it time for email to change?

Is it time for email to change? There have been some exciting new apps appear over the last few months that hint to a change in the process of how we deal with email. Should the way we deal with email change? At kc web design kent we think it should.

Email is now over 40 years old and the first email was sent by engineer Ray Tomlinson, on Wednesday 8th June 1971. In that time it has changed very little but the way we use it is now integral to every business on the planet. There can’t be many people in offices now that don’t check their email in Outlook at least every ten minutes, every day, 5 days a week. Thats a lot of email usage for a system that hasn’t changed much in 40 years.

Normally, email comes in to your inbox, you deal with it (or ignore/delete it) then store it in an appropriate folder. There are many, many email clients that let you do this (at kc web design kent we’re big fans of Postbox) but they all mostly deal with it in exactly the same way. An inbox and then subfolders for filling. When we use email here at kc web design kent its more than just an inbox. It becomes a filling system to store messages, sometimes from many years ago. It becomes part of a to-do or GTD system. It’s a way of sending files and images. It does all of these things in a kind of ok way but isn’t really made for doing any of them properly. This is why email should change. We use it differently now, not just to send a quick message but to organise and run our whole day or even our businesses.

A few new apps have appeared that are trying to change the way we use email, to make it behave more like the thing it has evolved into and to create something beyond just email sending and recieving. There are ways of using standard email apps that can improve the process and integrate email into more of a business process for getting things done. There’s a great article on Appstorm about using smart folders and a whole new method called The Secret Weapon that are both worth reading. But, new apps may be the way forward and the 2 main contenders are Mailbox and DotMail. I think DotMail is a little way off yet but Mailbox has starting rolling out a limited preview of it iOS app. Currently, kc web design kent are number 754,280 in the queue so it might be a while before we can do a full review!

Web apps that work offline

At kc web design Kent we create a lot of web apps – some for ourselves and some for clients. Most web apps are made to work online but sometimes, we need to create a web app that works offline, say on a mobile device when a connection is lost. How can a web app work with no internet connection you may ask. Well, there are a few things you can do to make sure your web app works with no connection. On a current web app project at kc web design kent we did just that.

Firstly, make sure that your web app really needs to work offline. There’s no need to work towards an offline web app if you don’t need to. If you do need it to work offline then make sure you know that before you start as this decision will dictate the code base you use. For an offline app you’ll really want to code things in a client side language such as Jquery with a minimal amount of PHP or server side coding. If you do need some PHP to communicate with a server then wrap it in Ajax calls so that you can check for a connection before you do any communicating with the server. There are a few scripts out there that help with this and we’ve used a very good one from Tom Riley.

Using Jquery or other client side languages means you can get all the main bulk of the app coded and working without any server interaction. For the few things that may need a server connection you can check for that connection and then alert the user that those features won’t be available until a connection is available again. Another way to make apps work offline is to utilise HTML5 local storage and save all form fields and data locally in the browser until a connection is available again. We’ve played around a lot with local storage at kc web design kent on a recent web app design project and be warned, it doesn’t always behave as you might think.

There are also other methods of making sure that your web app works offline and we’ll go into more detail on those in another post.

If you have a web app project then give kc web design kent a call. We’re experts in all types of web apps, iPhone apps and business websites.

1976 VW BAY CAMPER FOR SALE IN KENT

This is a bit of a random post for a website design blog and not one we’d normally do at kc web design kent but I’m selling my 1976 VW Camper Van and thought it might be worth a try to post it on here and see what the power of google can do! Who knows!

Photos can be seen here…https://www.dropbox.com/sh/q532rkbn2bb6a6w/OyE1UoD6sE

Green tin-top 1976 late bay in great condition with 12 months MOT. Has been well looked after (by Vanshack and Rusty Kampers) and cherished over the past 10 years but sadly (in fact very, very sadly as I met my misses and had many great adventures in this van!|) it’s time for it to go to a new home.
This is a very solid van, well cared for and in tip-top condition. Solid underneath (never had belly pans so no horrible surprises) and wax-oiled regularly. Interior could do with an upgrade at some point but has worked very well for us over the last 10 years. Lots of original parts but a new engine was put in 4 years ago. The new engine is a larger 1641 with twin Weber carbs, sports cam, electronic ignition and lots of upgraded parts. It really does make a difference and pulls very well up hills and improves the driving a lot. Makes a change to have a bit of power in a van! It’s believed to be originally a Holsworth commercial van conversion, so has better gearbox and suspension but has beaded windows rather than the inset camper style windows.

Vehicle condition 8/10
1976 late bay
10 months MOT
Not Tax Exempt
Located near Canterbury, Kent

Other features…

  • Lowered (cut and twist beam)
  • Original wheels with nice chrome trim
  • Original interior rubber mats and other parts such as gear stick knob, headliner, etc.
  • Stereo with mp3 connection
  • A tow bar
  • 3/4 width bed
  • 2 ring/grill cooker and gas bottle
  • sink
  • storage cupboards
  • wooden interior floor

I’ll also throw in…

  • A great Bluebird tunnel awning in excellent condition
  • A large 3 way camping fridge
  • Some opening quarter-lights (need rubbers and fitting)
  • JK full cover
  • Other spare parts

£11,950 ono

Contact Paul at kc web design kent on 07802 838698 or email paul @ k-collective.co.uk

kc web design kent – Comments and SEO

This is less of an article and more of a question (and a bit of a test) really – does having comments turned on and letting other users comment on your blog post have any benefit on SEO? Normally I have comments turned off on all the articles I write on kc web design kent but I’m wondering if it will make a difference to Google rankings to gather more back links by letting people get more involved in the conversation.

Would allowing comments on kc web design kent articles help with SEO?

As a question this is fairly broad but I’m wondering if it will make a difference. I’m leaving comments open on this post and making sure my Akismet filter is up-to-date and working. One of the major problems with having comments open is the spam, so that needs to be stopped straight away so I don’t get bogged down in comment administration. If anyone reading this has any experience with SEO and comments then please do…leave a comment. I’d love to know your experiences and what you think about the effects of comments on SEO. As a bit of a test on the kc web design kent website I might do a series of articles with comments on and see if that improves back links and trackbacks and if the spread of the article reaches a wider audience. I’ll need to think up some good subject matter for those!

Social Media and Google rankings

While we’re on the subject of Google rankings, over the past few months at kc web design kent we have made a bit more of a concious effort to build up the profile of some of our social media pages and it does seem to be having a positive effect on our Google rankings. Were we where ranking on page 4 fairly consistantly we are now almost getting into page 2 and the only changes we’ve made at kc web design kent are on our social media pages. We’ll be trying some more tweaks to social media over the next few months so lets see if that improves things further.

Jquery, HTML5 LocalStorage and DOM manipulation

On a recent web app project that we’re building here at kc web design kent we needed to utilise HTML5 localStorage quite a lot. With the complexities of the forms we were building we also had to manipulate the DOM a lot and create whole batches of new form fields based on user input. One of the inherent problems of creating or cloning form fields using Jquery is that those new form fields aren’t accessible in the normal way. You have to use Jquery .live events to reference newly created DOM elements as click functions will not work.

Local storage issues

While building this web app at kc web design kent we wanted to use HTML5 local storage to be able to keep a reference of all data locally so that the web app could be used in off-line situations. Local storage seems like the obvious choice but we ran into problems with form fields that were created by the DOM. Local storage just would not see these new fields and no matter what we tried we couldn’t get the fields to save. There isn’t a lot of detailed information around on local storage problems like this and after a few hours on Google we came up empty. So, we decided to get our heads together at kc web design kent and build some kind of work around.

A kc web design kent fix!

After trying a few failed attempts to force local storage to see the newly created fields we decided to take a different approach and use Jquery to ‘listen’ for any changes on form fields created in the DOM and then force them to save to local storage with the correct name and value. We tried a few complicated methods but found the best way was to keep it simple. If you come across the same problem then maybe this will help. Just set up a global event to listen for all form fields and then when they change manually set the local storage values. Seems too simple to work, but it does.

$("form").on('change', function(e) { 
 var $this = e.target;
 localStorage.setItem(e.target.name, e.target.value);
});

Web design for start-ups in Kent

At kc web design kent we believe that website design for start-up businesses is very, very important. Any website design created for a brand new company needs to work very hard and be cost effective, especially if that website is the whole business for an online start-up.

Anyone starting a new business venture will have limited funds, big plans and big ideas and will want the best possible website for their new venture. The key to getting a great website design for a new business is to be considered and logical and work with a website design and development company right from the beginning. Building a website that will grow with the company and provide a foundation that can be expanded on as the company grows is vitally important. Nobody wants to have to redesign a website 12 months after launch because it can’t change and adapt with a new business. The only way to achieve this is to talk to a website designer and plan from the start. This will be especially important if a new business is purely online based and needs a web app or iOS app to generate revenue. Even before the business gets started it’s important to get a good web designer or developer on board to help plan and guide you though areas of web design that may not be immediately obvious. At kc web design kent we’ve come across lots of small businesses that haven’t planned properly at the beginning and end up spending a lot of money putting things right. This can be avoided if a good web designer is found at the right stage of the project.

At kc web design kent we believe in working with our clients to create beautifully crafted websites and web app experiences. We enjoy working with start-ups right from the beginning and can advise in all aspects of starting an online business. kc web design kent are experts in creating web apps using the latest technologies and understand whats involved in created a solid foundation for an online business or business website. Get in touch to find out how we can help your new business get started.

 

kc web design Kent | Bootstrap vs Foundation

Bootstrap vs Foundation. It’s the age old fight of the frameworks. The two main contenders are still battling it out but here at kc web design kent we’re using both on 2 different projects so thought I’d write a little about how I feel about the two frameworks.

At kc web design kent we’re currently using the Zurb Foundation framework on a website design project and the Twitter Bootstrap framework on an internal project and a big web app design project. So how do they stack up? I’m a big fan of frameworks, anything that saves time on processes that you do again and again is a good thing, and these frameworks do that very well. They give you all the building blocks to create great websites, in fact you can quite easily get a basic website up and running using one of these frameworks within a few hours (it wouldn’t look great though, but would work well as a wireframe or prototype). There is a danger of lots of websites springing up that use these frameworks all looking the same so its important to use them as starting points and to make sure that your unique design is crafted onto the framework. Use them as a starting point and not as a theme.

While using both frameworks on website design projects at kc web design kent a few points worth noting have come to light. If you want more themes and plug and play components for your framework then choose Twitter Bootstrap – It seems to have far more community generated resources than Zurb Foundation and is very easy to find ready made themes and website templates that you can stick on top of the basic framework. Zurb Foundation on the other hand feels like the more ‘grown-up’ framework. It feels a bit more logical, the documentation and examples are better and the grid feels a bit easier to use. To be fair though, there’s really not much in it and at the end of the day, like it does here at kc web design kent, it’ll all come down to personal preference. Try them both and decide for yourself.

Cheap smartphone market grows

As more and more mobile phone companies are producing cheaper smartphones the more the mobile market grows. For web designers the mobile market has become very important over the last few years and this is set to grow even more rapidly in 2013. For kc web design kent and other freelance web designers and website design studios, responsive web design (RWD) has now become the normal way to create new websites. Almost all clients now want their new websites to work on mobile and tablet devices and responsive web design is the prefect way to achieve this. With new cheap phones coming onto the market – and rumours that Apple with produce a cheaper version of the iPhone – the number of users with access to the internet via a mobile device is set to grow again. This is one of the fastest growing emerging markets and making sure your website works on mobile and tablet devices is a must these days.

Smaller, cheaper devices have processors from two or three years ago, they have small screens with low resolution, and weaker cameras. They can all do email and the web but gaming and browsing is a much better experience on the higher end phones – Ian Fogg, principal analyst at IHS

Responsive web design doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. As long as it’s well thought out and planned and your users goals and your business goals are taken into consideration then you can create a fantastic website that works on all devices. At kc web design kent we try and utilise responsive web design in all of our website builds in the right circumstances and this is especially important on web app projects. Ignoring user that will visit your website on tablets and mobiles could reduce sales and exclude a huge demographic so when thinking about your websites update in 2013 please also consider WHO will be using your website and WHAT they’ll be browsing it on.

kc web design kent are experts at responsive web design so give us a call and we can answer any questions you have. Don’t ignore mobile users, talk to kc web design kent to find out how you can tap into this huge market and improve your current website.

kc web design kent website offline for over 18 hours

On Monday evening the kc web design Kent website went down. Sometimes it does this when our hosting company reboot servers or do routine maintenance. We host the kc web design Kent website with a company in California called AISO.net who are an eco-friendly hosting company powered by solar and wind energy. kc web design Kent have been hosting with them for over 7 years now and they’ve always been great, until Monday night. What we thought was a maintenance blip turned into an 18 hour outage with no website or email and lots of panicking!

kc web design kent are a very conscientious company and the environment is high on our list of concerns, especially for a tech based company, so we do what we can to help the environment with our solar powered hosting. All well and good, but the hosting company being based in California did cause a few problems this week because when the kc web design kent website was down it was the middle of the night in California and so no support staff were contactable. Hence even more panic. To be fair to AISO.net, once I’d got hold of their support staff they were very good (and I apologise for the language used prior to that!) but the wait was unbearable and almost a whole night and day without the kc web design kent website and email was starting to take its toll.

Two things came up in the panic – backups (yes, we had them, no they weren’t up to date) and Google rankings. How would our rankings be effected after the site was down for over 18 hours? We don’t know yet but hopefully nothing. After looking into our backups, which were done by the host, we’ve decided to take a different line and do offsite backups from within WordPress using the ‘WordPress Backup to Dropbox’ plugin. I’m a lot happier now that I can see the kc web design kent website getting backed up to Dropbox!

So why did the kc web design kent website disappear for 18 hours? Well, it turns out it was human error and some account spring cleaning…the wrong button was pressed and our account was terminated by mistake! Lets hope it doesn’t happen again!

Weather apps for the iPhone

It seems like every other week there’s a new weather app for the iPhone. All beautifully designed with lots of swiping and pinching but all missing one key point – a lot of people that use weather apps don’t just want todays temperature and a nice cloud icon, they want weather information, all weather information. As the talented Mark Boulton tweeted the other day…

The problem with pretty weather apps on iOS is the data is usually pretty shitty and generic. I want beautiful *and* accurate. And by accurate, I actually mean nerdy. I want beautiful *and* nerdy. Is that even possible? Ever?

Well Mark, at kc web design Kent we think beautiful and nerdy IS possible, which is why kc web design Kent have been working on a new weather app for iOS called Cirrus One which we’ll be launching later this year. The main focus of Cirrus One is to make weather apps useful again as well as looking great. And by useful we mean nerdy, and full of weather information, not just a summary but all the data you need to satisfy any weather nerd. Initially we’ll be dealing with weather data for the UK only from the Met Office but phase 2 will allow us to integrate other weather data for other parts of the world. The data is very important so we’re spending time making sure the data for each location is accurate before we start using it and for the UK the Met Office is by far the best.

Even though Cirrus One will look great and have all the relevant weather data you’ll need it will also have a killer feature that will make every designer and weather nerd rejoice. We can’t say what it is right now – ssshhhhh, it’s top secret – but it will change the way you use weather apps for good and is completely unique within the marketplace. Stay tuned for more info here or signup for launch info on the Cirrus One website.

And if you have a great iOS app idea and need a team of designers and developers to bring it to life then give kc web design Kent a call for a chat.

Web design and development in kent

kc web design ltd work on web design and development in kent, Canterbury, the South East, London and the rest of the UK. We also have global clients from all over the world such as the Toll Group and Fujitsu amongst others but for 2013, as a freelance web designer and user interface (UX/UI) specialist, I’d love to do some work with a local web start-up or Apple software company. Working on web design and development in kent is a lovely way to work and the web design and development projects we do here at kc web design kent are very exciting to work on, but, as a new venture for this year I’d love to do more work with a start-up at ground level and work on a long term project outside of kc web design kent at a level where I can really make a difference.

At kc web design kent we have our side projects such as Deltr and our new weather iOS app to keep us busy and especially with Deltr I work on the web design and UI/UX at a senior level but it would be great to help out another company starting in the web/online world to achieve greatness this year. This is a massive stab in the dark but, if you’re a local web start-up in and around Kent and you’re reading this and need some web design and development in kent then give me a call.

Web design and development in kent from kc web design

As a web design studio producing web design and development in kent we excel in what we do here at kc web design kent. We specialise in creating beautiful websites, designed to your own unique specifications and business goals and built on leading industry content management systems such as WordPress and Expression Engine. We create websites of all sizes and complexities and will work closely with you all the way along the project with special attention to the planning stage. So if you need a new website in 2013 or some  web design and development in kent then give kc web design kent a call.